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The purpose of this paper is to present a general safety analysis of important handling and transportation processes and their related equipment (“load chains” consisting of cranes, load-bearing equipment and load-attaching points). This project was arranged by the responsible Bavarian ministry for environment, health and consumer protection (StMUGV) in agreement with the power plant operators of all Bavarian nuclear power plants to work out potential safety improvements. The range of the equipment (e.g. reactor building, crane, refuelling machine, load-bearing equipment and load-attaching points covers the handling and transportation of fuel elements (e. g. with fuel flasks), heavy loads (e. g. reactor pressure vessel closure head, shielding slabs) and radioactive materials and waste (e. g. waste flasks, control elements, fuel channels, structure elements). The handling equipment was subjected to a general safety analysis taking into account the ageing of the equipment and the progress of standards. Compliance with the current valid requirements of the state of science and technology as required by German Atomic Act and particularly of the nuclear safety KTA-standards (3902, 3903 and 3905) was examined. The higher protection aims "safe handling and transportation of heavy loads and safe handling of radioactive materials and waste" of the whole analysis are to avoid a criticality accident, the release of radioactivity and inadmissible effects on important technical equipment and buildings. The scope of the analysis was to check whether these protection aims were fulfilled for all important technical handling and transportation processes.